Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill takes cocktails very seriously. This is a blessing for those of us who enjoy libations with complex flavors. South American-inspired, New York-style Midtown gastropub hired mixologists Evas Zvi and Gabriel Orta, who also work with the W South Beach, create possibly the best tasting drinks in the county. They include seasonal ingredients from Paradise Farms in Homestead and complement the food selection.
Short Order sampled some of the newest additions to Sugarcane's booze menu yesterday, and here's what we found.
This green drink is called Eden, possibly because it tastes like the stuff Adam and Eve gulped down in the garden when things were all good. Made with Japanese cucumber juice, cilantro, Herradera Silver tequila, and celery bitters, it's light, moderately sweet, and crisp. Often when drinks have cukes in them, they taste like you're eating a salad, a facial, or a Pimms cup. Eden is more akin to fresh midsummer melon. The tequila is barely perceptible, so no memories of freshman year will resurface.
The Hibiscus Blossom is a more palatable version of the caipirinha, a drink that often delivers more punch than pleasure. A sip of this beverage is like taking the first few chews of a stick of Winterfresh gum, very refreshing. It's made with citrus essence, mint, and hibiscus infused Cachaça.
The cocktail that will stop and make you think is simply called Rum Punch. The complex flavors in this drink come from ingredients not often paired together in a cup: pineapple, sage, Cruzan dark rum, and velvet falernum, a liquor from Barbados that includes cloves, almond, ginger, and lime. The sage and pineapple are enough to make for a meal, but they blend together so nicely, it's kind of magical. You won't need more than one of these, but definitely try one.
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The Basil Quencher is a drink for a hot afternoon. Made with kiwi, basil, and Cruzan Single Barrel rum, it's no surprise that it's refreshing. The sweet basil adds the perfect balance to the slight bitterness of the kiwi. It was hard to put this one down.
Lastly, the Rum Sazerac was the drink these guys seemed the most proud to have created. Made with all booze, watching them make this put hair on our chests. It's a classic cocktail made with aged rum, benedictine, Peychaud's bitters, and angostum bitters. Before the ingredients are combined in the glass, it's coated with absinthe, which is discarded. The drink is stirred and not shaken (the anti-Bond). Besides a sprig of rosemary, the garnish includes a lemon rind that is burnt and dropped into the liquid. What came out was full of flavor, but, again, a delicate, well thought out flavor. This is "manly" drink for any gender.
These are generally available for $12 each, though happy hour prices help, and you can imbibe for $7 from 4-7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Try them for yourselves at 3250 NE 1st Avenue, Miami. Visit sugarcanerawbargrill.com.